Dajjal is a term in Arabic that means “the great deceiver.” It is a sign of the Latter Days and signifies the Satanic forces that would unleash at the time of the advent of the Messiah and Mahdi to oppose him. In Christianity, there is a similar prophecy about the appearance of the anti-Christ and it refers to the same phenomenon.
The Dajjal mentioned in the sayings of the Holy Prophet of Islam (Ahadith) is described in the Holy Qur’an as the Satan:
“He (Satan) pleaded in the presence of God to be granted respite until those who are dead of heart are revived. God said: You are given respite till that time.”(1)
There is unanimity about the appearance of Dajjal in the Latter Days amongst all Muslims. However, there are huge differences in the interpretations of the prophecy regarding it. The Holy Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (sa) had forewarned about the Dajjal and deemed it as one of the greatest calamity to afflict mankind in the Latter Days. He also explained that when the greatest pinnacle of Dajjal manifests, that will be the time of the advent of the Messiah (as).
Amongst the majority of Muslims, however, the concept of Dajjal remains an obscure phenomenon – one of mythical proportions, if the interpretations of the prophecy relating to it are deemed to be literal.
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community represents True Islam and it has the unique distinction of crystallizing the prophecy of Dajjal. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), the Promised Messiah and Mahdi has elucidated on the concept of Dajjal in light of the Holy Qur’an and the Ahadith of Prophet Muhammad (sa). He says:
“The word Dajjal has two connotations: First, it signifies a group which supports falsehood and works with cunning and deceit. Secondly, it is the name of the Satan who is the father of all falsehood and corruption.” (2)
Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) has clarified that Dajjal is an intangible concept and not a physical one. He has explained the word “Dajjal”: It is derived from the Arabic root word “Dajjul” which means deceit. Thus Dajjal means a Great Liar or Great Deceiver, one who speaks falsehood. It refers to the evil forces, which speak against God and religion and desire to spread immorality in society.
All prophets have warned of evil forces. Their advents are tied to the reformation of mankind and they decry evil. Prophets dispel the evil effects of entities or people and beings who create havoc in the earth and lead people astray. Prophets work against such evil influences and stress that God is our sole Creator, center of our thoughts and that He teaches goodness and morality. It is incumbent upon all believers to act upon the guidance of prophets and work towards inculcating harmony and peace in the society.
The greatest manifestation of the evil forces is Dajjal during the time of Imam Mahdi, Imam of the Latter Days. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) has said that one of the prime objectives of the Imam Mahdi would be to have a spiritual battle against the forces of evil and teach goodness and bring people back to their Lord.
The old adage of good versus evil has always persisted. A lot of people in the world misguide and are still doing so. Prophets come to counter the satanic forces.
So who is Dajjal and how is he distinguished from other evil forces? In prophecies, it is a huge man, who is blind in the right eye and who would ride on a donkey. The blindness in the right eye signifies blindness to spiritual guidance. It is also mentioned that the left eye of the Dajjal is prominent and deeply penetrating. However, the description of the Dajjal should not be taken literally.
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community offers the most consistent and plausible interpretations of the prophecy of Dajjal. In spiritual terms, right signifies goodness whereas left is deemed worldly or materialism. Thus, the connotation of a significant, stronger left eye means moving away from spiritual and being immersed in materialism.
This is interpreted as the huge advancements of the world in science, sociology, commerce, philosophy, and astronomy. The last century has witnessed man breaking the confines of the Earth and travelling to moon. Astronauts take expeditions to space and reside there for years. Now, there are plans of sending expedition to Mars in the near future. Even though the advancements in the material pursuits are astounding, people are forgetting the spiritual needs and forgetting what is to come in the life Hereafter.
Since the second advent of Jesus (as) is not literal, so the Dajjal cannot be interpreted literally. Since the second advent of Jesus (as) is metaphorical and God speaks in parables, to fully understand and interpret the prophecy of Dajjal also requires a spiritual key. It is prophesied prophesized that when Jesus (as) will descend, he would kill Dajjal, kill the swine and break the Cross.
These are all metaphors and Dajjal does not represent a single person, and Jesus (as) would not literally kill the swine and break the Cross. Dajjal refers to the powerful Western nations, and it is not one man or one entity. It signifies a group of people who present themselves as trustworthy and pious but are neither. Its influence is not split geographically.
The Holy Qur’an then specifies that in the latter days the Christians will dominate the earth. They will leave behind all other nations in their social, agricultural, and commercial achievements policies, as indeed in everything else.
“They shall hasten forth from every height.”(3)
These people are called Gog and Magog in view of their national dominance. Among them are the people who have left no stone unturned in spreading misguidance and consequently came to be known as the Great Dajjal.
The second advent of Jesus is mentioned as a spiritual representation with a main task to break and refute the central argument of Christianity – Trinity, which is symbolized by the Cross. It means that he would offer concrete and powerful arguments against it. The killing of the swine refers to waging a war against a culture, which is lost, shameless and permissive. This is an expression of the rejection of a cultural behavior, which is not decent, a culture of the swine.
Killing of the Dajjal alludes to the fact that its influence would continue to wane in the time of Imam Mahdi and it would gradually dissipate. It refers to revolutions and an era where huge powers will lose strength. In essence, Dajjal represents the great Christian powers who wield great influence in the world. As is evident, the symbol of all great powers today is Trinity, the Cross and the eating of the swine. Christian powers rule the modern day world. They are a giant force, having conquered land and not sparing an inch of land from their occupation and colonization. The British, German, Dutch, French, Russians, and Americans have ruled the entire globe.
So according to the prophecy of the Holy Prophet (sa), Dajjal has come and a fight against it has erupted. The main instrument in the hands of the Promised Messiah (as) is logical arguments through which he proves that Jesus (as) died like all other Prophets an ordinary prophet and that he is not a son of God. His proofs towards this end symbolize breaking the Cross and nullifying the Trinity, which is the foundation of Christianity.
On the other hand, rest of the Muslim world is waiting for a physical descent of Jesus (as). They believe that since he did not die and instead ascended, he is somewhere between this world and the other world, in the fourth heaven! Their Mullahs or clergy continue to hone this absurd understanding as they wait for Jesus (as), and also Dajjal who is a giant that resembles the fairy tale Jinns, and how Jesus (as) would travel the world and conquer all nations. Dajjal’s mode of travel would be a donkey who would be equally huge and have the ability to fly over the clouds and make a jump, as if one foot in the East and one in the West.
The airplanes in the modern era fulfill this prophecy. The donkey is a metaphor to describe the mode of travel through land, sea or air. The Promised Messiah (as) has interpreted the Dajjal as the mighty Christian powers who are wise in worldly affairs and have discovered the treasures and s secrets of the world. He says:
“Dajjal is not the name of one man. According to the Arabic lexicon, Dajjal signifies a group of people who present themselves as trustworthy and pious, but are neither trustworthy nor pious. Rather, everything they say is full of dishonesty and deceit. This characteristic is to be found in the class of Christians known as the clergy. Another group is that of the philosophers and thinkers who are busy trying to assume control of machines, industries and the Divine scheme of things. They are the Dajjal because they deceive God’s creatures by their actions and tall claims as if they are partners in God’s dominion. The clergy are arrogating to themselves the status of prophethood because they ignore the true heavenly Gospel and spread a perverted and corrupted version as the supposed translation of the Gospel.” (4)
It is said that when Prophet Muhammad (sa) mentioned the might of the Dajjal, his companions trembled when he told them of its might and wrath and how even if someone was saved from the Dajjal, his smoke would reach their nostrils. This alludes to the pollution that results from the different forms of communication and emissions form the modes of transportation.
The Holy Prophet (sa) advised his companions to recite the first ten and last ten verses of Surah Al-Kahf (5) to nullify the injurious effects of Dajjal. These verses elaborate on the time of Dajjal, how Christianity would be distorted and lose its right eye. The left eye that signifies scientific advancements and industrial revolution would be prominent and dominant and we are witnesses to that phenomenon.
Another aspect that is wrongly interpreted is that the Messiah of the Latter Days would kill the Dajjal with a sword. Messiah (as) is destined to fight the Dajjal but not through physical might, rather he would melt him through prayers. Dajjal is so huge that he cannot be countered with the sword. The Promised Messiah (as) says:
“Do not think that I have come to wield the sword. No. What I have come to do is to put the swords back into their scabbards.” (6)
According to the Ahadith and prophecies of the Holy Qur’an, the signs of the Latter Days have been fulfilled. The much-awaited Imam Mahdi has appeared in the person of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) of Qadian and he has offered the world a solution to counter the ill effects of Dajjal. He has identified the Dajjal and given concrete solutions to eradicate its menace. In following the guidance of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) of Qadian, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi, lies the key to defeating the Dajjal.
This article appears in the Spring 2016 issue of the Muslim Sunrise.
- The Holy Qur’an, Chapter: 7 [Al-A‘raf], Verses: 15-16
- Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), Haqiqat-ul-Wahi, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 22, P. 326
- The Holy Qur’an, Chapter: 21 [Ta Ha], Verse: 97
- Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), Kitab-ul-Bariyyah, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 13, Pp. 243-244
- The Holy Qur’an, Chapter: 18 [Al-Kahf]
- Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), Masih Hindustan Meiń, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 15, Pp. 72-88
Last modified: February 2019
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Dajjal: The Ahmadiyya Muslim Perspective